New York Times reporter Nicholas Confessore's "Lobbyists Fighting Spending Cuts Find Ally in Group That Often Backs Them," an investigation of a new effort by the American Conservative Union (which sponsors the Conservative Political Action Conference) was marred by the paper's usual label-happy habits. There were 17 forms of the "conservative" label in the 1140-word story, not even including the six "conservatives" that appeared or in quoted material or as part of the group's name. (Shouldn't the middle name of the organization be enough of a hint for the paper's oh-so-intelligent readers?)
Confessore, who previously wrote for the liberal journals Washington Monthly and American Prospect, suggested hypocrisy on the part of ACU and found "austere spending limits" in a $3.8 trillion federal budget.
As one of the country’s largest and oldest conservative advocacy groups, the American Conservative Union has long fought to rein in federal spending and limit the size of government.
But behind the scenes, the group has formed a partnership with business lobbyists to tame the activists who have pushed Republican leaders in Congress to adopt some of the most austere spending limits in decades.
The proposed new effort, called the American Strength Program, would be financed by contributions from the defense and transportation businesses, which have struggled to defend the federal appropriations that benefit them as Congressional Republicans seek further spending cuts.
Here's a taste of Confessore's cramped labeling (how many "conservatives" do you really need)?
But while the American Strength proposal portrays military and transportation spending as consistent with principled conservatism, some conservative leaders disagreed, saying it would put the interests of particular businesses ahead of the interest of the taxpayers.
When FedEx declined the offer -- which included a promise to mobilize conservative union members with direct mail and phone calls -- the chairman of the group then, David A. Keene, signed onto an open letter criticizing FedEx. The flip-flop drew sharp criticism from some other conservatives, who accused the conservative union of offering for sale its allegiance and imprimatur.